By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (March 1, 2021) – In Issue 2021-39 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we visit the history of radio airwaves.

Early Marconi Radio device (Stock Photos)

Tunes and More Tunes

The epic rise of radio in the 20th century owes its existence to Hertz who discovered radio waves in 1886 and to the early inventors, Tesla, and Marconi, who reduced the technology to practical executions with their work in the mid-1890s. 

This all led to the rapid commercialization of radio.  First as AM then FM stations popped up.  Thanks to the higher frequencies used, FM delivers more stable sound quality with much less static.

The first commercial FM station started broadcasting 80 years ago today in Nashville, Tennessee.  Its call sign was W47NV and later changed to WSM-FM.  While this FM station lasted for only 10 years, its sister AM station still broadcasts as WSM-AM.  WSM-AM is the home station of The Grand Ole Opry.

This Cram map of Nashville is from 1898.

Map of Nashville from 1898 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.